Point Counts on Bluff Prairies

Today definitely had the most raspberry patches of any of the counts. I got scratched a number of times, even through my classic Carhartt original fit pants. Also, my waterproof hiking shoes are anything but; I ended up with water pooled around my feet just from the dew!

A reward of bushwhacking, though, was finding a tiny ruffed grouse chick in a small tree! As I approached, I found out it was more capable of flight than I would have assumed. Still, it flew back to mom with an alarmed “peep!”

“Hen defends flightless chicks by fanning tail and ruff, hissing, squealing, and sometimes rushing predators. Hen with brood may also use broken-wing display. Chicks >5-7 d of age run or fly with hen; may fly and perch in trees or shrubs to avoid mammalian predators.” – Birds of North America

Interestingly, I think the hen did both! I couldn’t see her except for ruffling (pun intended) leaves, but she definitely charged me with a hiss! Then, she popped up with a squeal and made a weak flight from what I assume was the brood. (I saw a chick pop up from where the other one flew during this display.) It seemed intended to make me want to chase her/think she was injured.

Then, I caught a glimpse of a ruby-throated hummingbird doing (I think) the dive display!

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